Oversight Committee

Jim Adox, MSE, MBA
Executive Managing Director,
Venture Investors

Jim Adox is the Lead Managing Director for the Fund’s General Partner. Jim is also the Executive Managing Director of the Fund’s Management Company, Venture Investors LLC. He joined Venture Investors in 2006 as a Managing Director of VIESF IV and is a Managing Director of VIESF V and Lead Managing Director of VIHF 6. He leverages his technical, operational and venture capital background by focusing on investment prospects in medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health. Jim holds two issued US patents in medical devices. Jim manages the Ann Arbor, Michigan office of Venture Investors.

Jim serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of HistoSonics, Inc., a company Venture Investors spun out of the University of Michigan and in which VIESF IV led the $15M Series A financing. Recently, HistoSonics raised a total of $95M in a Series C financing, including investments from Varian (now Siemens) and Johnson & Johnson. In addition, Jim serves on the Board of Directors of ViaLase, Inc., where he led the Seed and Series A rounds, Dvant Pharma Inc., SkySpecs, and Netsocket.  He was previously Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tissue Regeneration Systems (TRS), where he was a co-Founder and the Company’s first CEO (acquired by Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic). He was also previously a Board Member of NeuMoDx, Inc. (acquired by Qiagen for $310M) and Board observer of LenSx (acquired by Alcon for up to $744M).

Jim’s prior venture capital experience includes a combined nine years as a partner at RidgeLine Ventures and EDF Ventures. He began his career in venture capital in 1997 with EDF Ventures, where he was a partner in two funds through 2004 and led the spin-out, sourcing, financing, syndication and exit of numerous investments. Jim was a co-investor with Venture Investors while a partner at EDF. During this time, Jim helped launch and was the CFO and a Board member of HandyLab (acquired by Becton Dickinson for $275M), and Xtera Communications (XCOM) by serving in the operating roles of CFO and General Manager until a management team was recruited. He was on the Board as a Director or Observer of Ardesta, Avail Networks (acquired by SCMR), HandyLab, TherOx, and Xtera Communications.

Prior to his venture capital positions, Jim had nine years operating experience both domestically and internationally. Jim worked in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and the Czech Republic. In these roles, he wore many functional hats: marketing, engineering, business development and operations. Jim is fluent in Spanish.

Involvement in Community & Venture Ecosystem:

  • Leadership Advisory Board Member, University of Michigan College of Engineering
  • National Advisory Board Member, University of Michigan Office of Innovation Partnerships
  • Coulter Translational Research Oversight Committee, University of Michigan College of Engineering
  • Former Board Member and Chairman, Michigan Venture Capital Association, 2009-2021
  • Former Fundraising Team Leader, Ann Arbor YMCA’s Annual Campaign
  • Former Board Member, Ann Arbor Triathlon Club

Education & Certifications:

  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
  • MBA (High Distinction), University of Michigan

Hobbies: Jim is a competitive triathlete, and a five-time Ironman finisher. He is a cyclocross and mountain bike rider and racer, and a 10-time Iceman finisher. He is part of Venture Investors’ American Birkebeiner cross-country ski “team.” In his free time, he enjoys adventures with his family and photography.


James Ashton-Miller, PhD
Research Professor, Mechanical Engineering
University of Michigan College of Engineering

Dr. James Ashton-Miller is the Albert Schultz Collegiate Research Professor and Distinguished Research Scientist in the Departments of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, and has Research Professor appointments in the Department of Internal Medicine and the School of Kinesiology, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  Dr. Ashton-Miller directs the Biomechanics Research Laboratory (http://me.engin.umich.edu/brl/) at the University of Michigan where he and his students use theoretical and experimental approaches to understand the biomechanics of unintentional injuries so they and their sequelae can be better prevented. He is an inventor of several kinds of medical devices.

Dr. Ashton-Miller has authored over 350 scientific articles (ORCID #: 0000-0003-1528-2787) and has graduated over 30 doctoral students. He is co-PI on an NIH RC2 grant developing next generation instrumentation for urologists, site PI of an SBIR grant with colleagues in Obstetrics & Gynecology investigating the pathomechanics of injuries to women during vaginal birth with a Stanford start-up company, a co-PI of an NIH R01 grant to test the hypothesis that many ACL injuries may be due to a material fatigue failure – too many severe loading cycles in too short a period for the ligament to recover. With colleagues in Physical Medicine and Geriatrics, he is studying the causes of fall-related injuries in older adults.  His research is also funded by several Fortune 500 companies to translate insights from his research into better product design.

He is a past-President of the American Society of Biomechanics (ASB), a fellow of ASME, AIMBE, ASB, and GSA, and the winner of the 2009 ASB Giovanni Borelli award, the 2015 ASME H.R. Lissner Medal for contributions in biomechanics and bioengineering, and the 2016 Kappa Delta award from the Orthopedic Research Society and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Between 2012 and 2017 he served as an Associate Vice-President for Research for the University of Michigan. Dr. Ashton-Miller received a BSc (Hons) from Newcastle University, U.K., a MSME from M.I.T., and a PhD from the University of Oslo, Norway.


Jack Ball, BS
President,
Tyball Associates, LLC

Currently, he is President of Tyball Associates, LLC, a commercialization strategy consulting company in the biotech tools space. He serves on the board of directors of Carterra Inc, Cytek Biosciences, NanoCellect Inc and KromaTiD.  He was on the board at Swift Bioscience for 11 years until it sold to Integrated DNA Technology in March 2021. Most recently he was CEO, Solulink Inc.  Prior to that he was CCO at Accuri Cytometers, which was sold to Becton Dickinson in March 2011 for $205M. Prior to Accuri Cytometers, he was CEO of Amnis Corporation, a venture backed technology start-up developing and selling high-end imaging flow cytometers. He has also served as Chief Commercial Officer for Molecular Probes, Inc., the world leader in reagents for cell analysis, including flow cytometry consumables Prior to that he was with Orchid Biosciences as Sr. VP and General Manager. Before Orchid he was with Amersham Pharmacia Biotech Inc., where he rose to President for North America in over 25+ years with the company.


Hugo Braun, MBA
Co-Founder,
North Coast Technology Investors

Hugo Braun is a partner and co-founder of North Coast Technology Investors, a Michigan-based venture capital firm with $100 million under management. North Coast focuses on early stage investments in IT, advanced materials and medical devices. Prior to North Coast, Hugo worked in San Francisco co-managing BankAmerica’s venture capital portfolio. Previously, Hugo was a management consultant with Strategic Planning Associates, a spin-off of the Boston Consulting Group based in Washington, DC.

Hugo holds an M.S. in Management from the Sloan School of Management at MIT and a B.A. in Economics from Yale University.


Sean Chambers, PhD
Director Collaborative Programs,
Cook Advanced Technologies

Sean Chambers, PhD, has been involved in research and product development at Cook Medical (Bloomington, IN) since 2006. Cook Medical is a privately-owned medical device company focusing on unique minimally invasive solutions to enhance patient safety and improve clinical outcomes.  In 2022, he became the Director of Collaborative Programs at Cook Advanced Technologies, an affiliate company of Cook Medical whose mission is to develop cutting-edge medical products and therapies for patients, from concept development to product commercialization. Prior to 2006, Sean was the Research Manager at MC3, Inc., a technology incubator in Ann Arbor, MI. There he led the BioLungTM total artificial lung program, which was a partnership between the University of Michigan and MC3, resulting in the founding of Novalung, GmbH. He was a visiting Lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering department at the National University of Ireland, Galway from 1998-1999 where he was involved in developing the Biomedical Engineering curriculum and a multi-disciplinary grant resulting in the creation of the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science.

Sean is currently on industry liaison committees in the department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. In addition, he is on the Oversight Committee for the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Translational Partnership Program at the University of Michigan.  He completed his Ph.D. in Bioengineering at the University of Michigan in 1998 and his B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 1993.  He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and an AIMBE Fellow with over 30 U.S. patents in the medical device field. 


Renard Charity Jr., MBA
Managing Partner,
Fletcher Spaght, Inc.

Renard is a partner at Fletcher Spaght. Prior to joining Fletcher Spaght, Renard served as Boston Scientific’s head of corporate strategy group and in marketing roles. He also worked at the Boston Consulting Group in the Healthcare practice and at Morgan Stanley in Merger and Acquisitions. Renard also helped General Electric do its first IPO spinout as Chief Marketing Officer of the Long Term Care Insurance division of the newly formed company, Genworth Financial.

Renard is a Board member of The UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation and past board member of HistoSonics, Cheetah Medical, the University of Virginia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership, and the Visiting Nurses Association of Boston. He has also served on the Boards of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Venture Richmond and St. Christopher’s School.

Renard Charity holds an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and an AB from Princeton University.


Mark Cohen, MD

Dean,
Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Dr. Mark Cohen is Dean of Carle Illinois College of Medicine. Prior to joining Carle Illinois, Dr. Cohen was Vice Chair in Surgery for Clinical Operations, Professor of Surgery, Pharmacology, and Biomedical Engineering, Director of the Center for Surgical Innovation, Director of the Medical School Pathway of Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Director of Endocrine Surgery Research, and Director of the Center Initiative for Medical and Surgical Extended Reality at the University of Michigan.

After completing a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with Honors, he completed a Howard Hughes Research Fellowship and then went on to receive his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He then completed his general surgery residency as well as an NIH-sponsored T32 fellowship in endocrine and oncologic surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. His clinical interests include endocrine surgery, specifically thyroid surgery for benign and malignant disease, minimally invasive parathyroid surgery and adrenalectomy, as well as surgery for advanced melanomas including hyperthermic isolated limb perfusion. He is boarded by the American Board of Surgery, is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the Society of Surgical Oncology.

Dr. Cohen has run an NIH R01-funded translational oncology laboratory for the last 12 years working developing novel therapeutics and diagnostics for the treatment and staging of advanced cancers, especially endocrine tumors and melanomas. He developed several educational programs in Innovation and Entrepreneurship for medical students, residents, and faculty as well as co-founding 5 start-up companies to improve the care of surgical patients. He has mentored over 200 faculty, residents, and students on surgical innovation projects, as well as advised 15 startups who combined have raised over $100M in capital. He has delivered over 100 invited national and international talks, and written and published 116 original scientific articles, 13 book chapters, 4 awarded patents, as well writing the textbook “Success in Academic Surgery: Innovation and Entrepreneurship” published in 2019 by Springer-NATURE. He is on the editorial board for SURGERY and has held several national leadership positions in surgical societies and is a founding member of the Holomedicine Association and Chair of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Emerging Surgical Technology and Education. He was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Recognition Award by the University of Michigan in 2019 and more recently, the Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize in 2021 for Applications of Mixed Reality to enhance Medical Education. More information on Dr. Cohen can be found at:


Jessica DesNoyer, PhD, MBA
CEO,
Ostiio

Dr. Jessica DesNoyer is CEO of Ostiio, a seed-stage medical technology startup focused on improving the lives of people with craniofacial abnormalities.  An accomplished healthcare and life sciences executive, Jessica has a track record of building innovation centers and emerging businesses within several Fortune 500 companies (J&J DePuy Synthes, Smith & Nephew, Abbott and Becton Dickinson).  Prior to joining Ostiio, Jessica enjoyed a successful career that encompassed a diverse background across therapy spaces (cardiovascular, interventional, and orthopedics), technologies (devices, biologics/biomaterials, and combination therapies) and functional leadership roles (R&D, strategy & innovation, global marketing, business development, and general management). Jessica’s diverse work experiences uniquely position her to advance technology from product conceptualization through development, commercialization, and clinical use. Throughout her career, she has led cross-functional teams to build and execute global operational plans inclusive of technology development, quality, clinical, regulatory, market access, and marketing strategies that supported a diverse portfolio of product clearances and approvals and their subsequent commercialization

Jessica holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan, a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.


Peter Galen, MSE
Chief Innovation Officer,
Hemex Health

Peter Galen worked in medical device companies for 30 years and has released more than 50 products. He worked as an engineer, project manager, director, VP, and CEO. Peter’s experience working at all levels enables him to understand the details and the big picture, resulting in robust solutions, and a focus on quickly creating high quality products that succeed. Peter is Chief Innovation Officer at Hemex Health, an early revenue stage company with IVD solutions that impact underserved populations and are also important in middle and high income countries. He has also led two successful exits most recently a social venture focused on preventing blindness, Quantum Catch Corp., to an Australian non-profit. Peter also sold a company he co-founded and ran, CardioDigital, Inc., to Medtronic. He has 30+ years of experience leading product development including 1.5 years in Singapore setting up Welch Allyn’s R&D for emerging countries. Peter also managed a large cardiovascular device lab (~100 person) for Hewlett Packard. He has 30 patents issued and 40 more that are pending.

Peter sits on several boards and helps three universities with their translational activities. Peter has a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering with a biomedical focus from the University of Washington.


Niki Kennedy, MD, MBA, MSE
CEO,
ArborHive Innovation Network

Dr. Niki Kennedy is a vascular surgeon with a background in both engineering and business.

Since her undergraduate days, Dr. Kennedy has worked as a consultant for startups in the healthcare field. She has experience in device development, regulatory affairs and quality assurance. Dr. Kennedy routinely mentors with several tech accelerators in the Midwest. Currently, she is working on the ArborHive Innovation Network, a national program designed to engage physicians with the biomedical innovation community. Prior to starting with ArborHive, Dr. Kennedy worked as a section chief and chief informatics officer in the Henry Ford Health System.

Dr. Kennedy began her career as an electrical engineer, graduating from Lawrence Technological University in 1995 with her BS. She then went on to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she obtained Masters degrees in both electrical and biomedical engineering. Dr. Kennedy then made the jump into the clinical world, completing her MD at Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2003. From there, she went on to complete her general surgery residency as well as her vascular surgery fellowship. More recently, Dr. Kennedy obtained her MBA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2019.


Russ King, MA
President & Managing Partner,
MethodSense

Russ King is the president and managing partner of MethodSense, a life science consulting firm with offices in the US and Europe. King works with medical device, biotech and pharmaceutical companies to develop quality, regulatory and technology solutions. King’s experience spans compliance operations, quality support and risk remediation. He has consulted for many global medical device and healthcare enterprises, including IBM, St. Jude Medical, Teva and Intertek. He works with organizations to develop business processes that meet quality and regulatory requirements. King’s skill set has become increasingly important as more companies integrate technology into their businesses and products. King is adept at simplifying complex concepts, and he is instrumental in helping clients understand the risk involved with FDA compliance. His knowledge and powerful communication skills guide clients to operational efficiency that reduces risk and can save thousands of dollars.


Mary-Ann Mycek, PhD
Interim Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering,
Professor of Biomedical Engineering,
University of Michigan College of Engineering

Pending…


Rebecca Paalman, MHA
Director, Strategic Development,
Stryker

Rebecca joined Stryker in 2014 and is currently responsible for running the operations of the strategy programs across the Stryker enterprise. Rebecca and her team facilitate cross-divisional collaboration with the commercial businesses of Stryker to facilitate local and enterprise level strategies, which drive new, innovative solutions into the organization for existing and new market segments.

Rebecca is a certified orthopedic nurse and holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration. Prior to joining Stryker, she held nursing and administrative positions at Metro Hospital and Sparrow Healthcare Systems. Rebecca also spent a portion of her career in sales and training in the information technology and business solutions marketplace primarily focused on healthcare customers and their needs. The Paalman family started their own business, NuWave Technology Partners in 2005, servicing business, healthcare, and government markets as a managed service provider. In 2021, the family launched Prescott, which guides businesses in the preparation for Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) assessment and the governance of their cybersecurity practice.  Throughout her career, Rebecca has participated in several nonprofits including serving as president of the Junior League of Lansing.

Rebecca, her husband, Chad, and their children, Sydney (17) and CJ (19), reside in the Grand Rapids area.


Bryce Pilz, JD
Executive Director of Licensing and Strategy Alliances, Innovation Partnerships,
University of Michigan Office of the Vice-President for Research

As the Executive Director of Licensing and Strategic Alliances for U-M Innovation Partnerships, Bryce leads a team of professionals that work with faculty from around campus to commercialize inventions created at U-M and find strategic research partners. Bryce’s team has innovated to launch flexible models for startup licensing, and industry sponsored research. U-M ranks in the top five nationally for startups launched, invention disclosures received, and commercialization deals.

Prior to assuming a leadership role at U-M Innovation Partnerships, Bryce was faculty at U-M Law School where he co-founded the Entrepreneurship Clinic and taught courses related to IP Strategy and Venture Capital. Bryce previously practiced law at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in the firm’s intellectual property practice and clerked for the Hon. Amy J. St. Eve in the Northern District of Illinois. He has also served as Associate General Counsel at the University of Michigan, where he worked with the Office of Technology Transfer on startups and licensing.

Bryce received his JD from Michigan Law in 2000 and his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan College of Engineering in 1997.


Danny Sachs, MD
Director, Innovation Fellows Program,
University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center

Danny is a physician entrepreneur. He co-founded or founded several device companies that have attracted venture capital funding, including Respicardia, Amphora, Mainstay Medical, and Kspine. Mainstay completed its IPO on the NYSE Euronext Exchange in 2014.

He serves as Associate Director of Entrepreneurship in Medicine for the Innovation Fellows Program at The University of Minnesota Medical Devices Center. Danny was previously a venture capital investor with Investor Growth Capital and Spray Venture Partners, and served as a director on the boards of ten health care companies. He was previously an Instructor in Medicine in the Division of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Danny holds over 30 patents or applications across a variety of therapeutic areas.

He earned BA and MD degrees from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Kate Taylor, PhD
Senior Global Innovation Manager,
Boston Scientific

Dr. Taylor is the senior global innovation program manager at Boston Scientific, a leading developer and manufacturer of medical devices used in interventional medical specialties. Before coming to Boston Scientific, she worked for a variety of drug delivery and medical device companies including Medtronic.


Alan Wright, MD, MPH
VP Medical Affairs, North America,
bioMerieux

As the Vice President of Medical Affairs for North America for bioMerieux, Dr. Wright serves as its lead clinical and policy spokesperson on all aspects of clinical diagnostic medicine in the North American Region.

As a physician with extensive background in the managed care, pharmaceutical, clinical laboratory, and biotechnology industries, and with deep knowledge about regulatory, payer policy and legislative issues affecting healthcare, he is uniquely positioned to help advance medical ideas and technologies from conception to clinical practice.

He earned his medical degree from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and a Masters of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Hygiene. He resides in Salt Lake City, and maintains a farm with his wife and several million bees in Maryland.